2018 Superbowl Commercials

It’s that wonderful time of year again when we get to dissect one of the more entertaining and informative aspects of the Superbowl, the commercials.

Why is this important?

For decades now, the Super Bowl commercial has represented the pinnacle of television advertising around the world. No other event draws the American audience to their television screens with the calculable efficiency as the Super Bowl. In an effort to advertise their brand and create goodwill with this captive audience, advertisers are willing to pony up as much as $5 million dollars to run one of their commercials in a 30-second spot.

Because so much money is at stake, advertisers have long sought out the best of the best. Filmmakers that are capable of making a 30 second commercial look and feel like an epic Hollywood production. They can pull at your heartstrings, tickle your funny bone, make you imagine a better world and reconsider your long established points of view.

For us in the advertising business, it provides us with a window into the state of the art in video advertising. Dissecting these ads that are developed with so much money and audience in mind can help us hone in on what we can do, on a much smaller scale of course, to capture the imagination of our audience and get the most bang for our buck with our own advertising.

So what insights can we gleen from this years ad’s?

Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.

Most Inspirational

Toyota – Good Odds

This commercial makes good use of an age-old advertising methodology.  Create an emotion and then relate that emotion to your brand. In this commercial, the filmmakers skillfully take you on a visual journey.  The inspirational journey of Lauren Woolstencroft, who beat the odds to win eight Paralympic gold medals.

It encourages you to revel in the indomitable human spirit that when dedicated, can achieve anything.

Then once you’ve been mesmerized by the beauty and splendor of this heartfelt story, they tie that emotion to their brand.

“At Toyota, we believe when we are free to move, anything is possible. So we’re on a mission to make movement better for everyone.”

It is a powerful and impactful way of tying your brand to an idea or philosophy and that can have lasting effects on the viewer. This only works however if the emotion is authentic and it resonates with them.

Best use of Comedy

Febreze – The only man in the world whose bleep don’t stink!

Utilizing a very clever concept and even better writing, Febreze pulled off an upset almost bigger than the game itself with this funny ad.

Good use of comedy that makes your product central to the punch line will make sure that people remember not only your commercial but your product.

Biggest Swing and a Miss

Squarespace -Make It With Keanu Reeves

This commercial makes crystal clear the fact that it takes more than star power to produce an effective commercial.

I can only guess based on the final result, that they blew all their cash on Keanu Reeves fee and special effects and then couldn’t afford a writer with a good idea.

This commercial fails in the all-important role of making a powerful association with the product.  Website Hosting.

I’d call this a very expensive missed oppurtunity.

Best use of Misdirection

Tourism Australia – Dundee

Tide – It’s a Tide Ad

Misdirection is always a popular tactic of Superbowl ads.

Playing “Guess the ad” has long been a Superbowl tradition, even if most people don’t realize it. The audience is watching and trying to figure out who the ad is for.

Strangely, the audience appreciates being fooled and will award bonus mental points to advertisers that do a good job of it.

These two entries did a masterful job of misdirecting the viewer and then reigning it back in to collect kudos for the advertiser.

Worst Concept – Ever

Diet Coke – Twisted Mando

Two things you never want to be associated. Dumb and your product.

Coke is a huge, deep pocket worldwide enterprise. I can’t even imagine the boardroom meeting where this idea was pitched.

So, this girl takes a drink and starts dancing and uttering nonsense.

Coke: I love it!

I know Coke can do whatever it wants. It’s not really trying to re-invent the wheel here, it’s just trying to maintain it’s dominance in the market. But come on! Can we at least try to do something interesting that doesn’t leave a bad taste in our mouth?

Best Accociation with popular entertainment

Lexus – Black Panther

Jeep – Jurassic Park

Advertisers have long been aware that associating your product with popular movies or T.V. shows pretty much translates to instant market-share.

The problem with this methodology of course, is the expense.

The licensing fees can be considerable, making this an advertising genre exclusively available to company’s with very deep pockets.

If you can afford the hefty fees however, you can have your products forever linked in the consumers mind with a cultural touchstone.

Best Combined Product

Doritos Blaze Vs. Mtn Dew Ice

A growing trend in advertising is teaming up with a complimentary product and combining your resources.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt if both companies are under the same corporate umbrella.

This commercial was skillfully conceived and executed pitting hot vs cold with each product staking its claim to a side.

Throw in Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman for good measure and you have something memorable and effective.


Best Philanthropic Association

Water.org & Stella Artois – Taps

Budweiser – Stand by you

Naturally, an advertising staple for many companies has always been to harbor goodwill within the marketplace by touting all of the good things that your business does for the community.

Everyone likes to believe that they’re helpful in some way, and this type of advertising allows them to feel like their patronage is being of service to their community.

This commercial style has been a staple for such a long time for one important reason. It works, in fact, it works really really well. This type of advertising has real staying power, it tends to resonate with the viewer long after the original viewing. Which is why big-name companies have always gravitated towards this type of advertising and why we don’t think it’s going to disappear anytime soon.

Did these commercials spark some ideas for your own business advertising?

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